National Parks Being Lobbied To Do Away With Bottled Water, Install Filling Stations

A lobbying effort is under way to get more national parks to phase-out bottled water in favor of reusable water bottles and water-filling stations, such as this one at Arches National Park. Kurt Repanshek photo.

It's been more than a year since bottled water and corporate America collided at Grand Canyon National Park, and the push continues to get more national parks to phase out packaged water in favor of fresh tap water and refillable bottles.

Next week National Park Service officials at Yosemite and Mount Rainier national parks, Independence Hall National Historical Park, and Golden Gate National Recreation Area will be presented with over-sized postcards urging them to phase out disposable water bottles.

At Corporate Accountability International, a non-profit that works to encourage cleaner environmental habits, officials intend to make March 27 a "national day of action ... in a heated battle between those who are fighting to get billions of plastic bottles out of our waste stream, and Coca-Cola (owner of Dasani), who is throwing hurdles in the way of those parks that want to become bottled water free."

Coca-Cola rose to the limelight back in November 2011 when an email trail seemed to indicate the beverage maker was pressuring the National Park Foundation to urge the Park Service not to ban disposable water bottles at Grand Canyon National Park. At the time, Park Service officials said they weren't bowing to corporate pressure but simply conducting due diligence on the impacts of such a ban. For instance, they said at the time, how might the safety of visitors to Southwestern parks such as the Grand Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands be impacted by a ban?

Ultimately, Grand Canyon officials, who had installed water filling stations early in 2011, were able to phase-out bottled water and put to use filling stations they had installed

Kristin Urquiza, who oversees the "Outside the Bottle and Public Works Compaign" for Corporate Accountability International, says more parks need to follow Zion, Hawaii Volcanoes, and Grand Canyon national parks in phasing out the sale of disposable water bottles.

At the same time, she was critical of an extensive memorandum (attached below) Park Service Director Jon Jarvis sent out to his superintendents in the wake of the Grand Canyon uproar that directed the steps they would need to take to phase-out bottled water. That memo called for superintendents to, among other things, review the amount of waste that could be eliminated from their park; consider the costs of installing and maintaining water filling stations for visitors; review the resulting impact on concessionaire and cooperative association revenues, and; consult with the Park Service's Public Health Office.

Then, too, they must consider "contractual implications" to concessionaires, the cost and availability of BPA-free reusable containers, and signage so visitors can find water filling stations. Also, they need to take into consideration safety considerations for visitors who might resort to drinking water "from surface water sources with potential exposure to disease" or who neglect to carry enough water with them on hikes.

"That is a clear indication of how Coke, stepping in, really is putting pressure on the Park Service to make it much more difficult for additional parks to follow suit," maintained Ms. Urquiza during a phone conservation. "Coke and the other bottlers, Nestle and Pepsi, there were several conference calls that were organized with Park Service employees and representatives from the big bottlers, asking them to put a hiatus on additional bans, and really working to stop this from happening in additional places."

To get more parks to phase-out bottled water, the non-profit has been working with stakeholders in and out of national parks, including concessionaires, "to help give Park Service (superintendents) the support they need to really move forward on implementing a 'bottled-water-free' policy in their parks," she said.

While none of the four parks has given "firm commitments" to moving forward with a ban, said Ms. Urquiza, talks have been ongoing to examine the feasibility of such a ban.

"The real exciting feedback that we've been getting is that water in the parks is an incredibly important issue for superintendents," she said. "They want to figure out how to minimize the amount of waste, to promote public water."

The organization plans to organize efforts this fall in Washington, D.C., to lobby the Park Service to hold firm to its original plan of having refillable water stations in 75 percent of park visitor centers by 2016, while encouraging parks to discontinue the sale of disposable bottled water.

On March 27, next Wednesday, the non-profit hopes superintendents at Yosemite, Mount Rainier, Independence Hall, and Golden Gate will commit to moving forward with a ban of disposable water bottles. "Our hope is that the superintendents can make a public commitment to implementing bottled-water-free policies," Ms. Urquiza said. "We're really hopeful, and see this as a win-win for parks.

"... At the end of the day, it's really sending the wrong message for our national parks to be promoting bottled water," she added.

At least one reusable bottlemaker, Vapur, has been talking with national parks about installing water-filling stations for visitors. Company officials, however, have declined to discuss what progress they're making.

AttachmentSize
NPS-Plastic Water Bottle Memo.pdf410.6 KB

Comments

From the policy memo: "Banning bottled water in National Parks has great symbolism, but runs counter to our healthy food inititive". This is another issue where the NPS is picking a fight with it's visitors for no reason.

The mission of the NPS is to protect and manage our nations special wild places. As a citizen I determine whether or not I'll drink bottled water and make a lunch, buy a lunch from a facility in a park or eat a candy bar and cheetos.

The cost of providing safe drinking water to masses of tourists isn't even considered in the policy memo. But it sure focuses upon the symbolism. Simply nannyism by a bunch of bureaucrats.

The NPS has larger, more important issues to spend it's time on, I'm certain.

Bottled water has been one of the biggest -- and unfortunately, most successful -- scams ever perpetrated on the American people. But, hey, in our modern society, if a TV ad says something is necessary, then by golly it must be necessary. Maybe the folks who claim our schools are failing to teach critical thinking are right.

What is the "scam" And why is it "unfortunate"?

Lee-I agree--a huge scam and an environmental disaster. I really hope the NPS can and will eliminate bottled water sales from the parks, and lead the way for others to do the same. If you want more info, watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se12y9hSOM0

Mike,

I don't see a nanny state at work here. Noone is saying you can't "drink bottled water and make a lunch, buy a lunch from a facility in a park or eat a candy bar and cheetos." In fact, you can bring as many bottles of water to the park as you'd like.

I agree that "the mission of the NPS is to protect and manage our nation's special wild places." It's not to sell you things.

Ok barbara, whats the scam and what is the enivironmental "disaster"?

Another spot on agreement, Lee:). Applies to political discourse (especially). Critical thinking, a great concept.

We do bring our own food and water, like many, perhaps even most people. The NPS with this policy limits the choices of it's patrons. It's not in their mission to do that. The park makes money on the sale (through it's concessionaires) of water, food, and geegaws.

It costs the park money to provide safe, treated, accessible drinking water. Many park locations are in areas where water is not readily available. It is common for potable water sources provided by the Federal Government to be substandard. The USFS and BLM both provided water in lots of campgrounds and other rec facilities. When subject to audits, it is commonly found that the potable water provided has not been managed in accordance with law or the plan the agency must establish prior to making water available. Both agencies are re-evaluating the provision of potable water at remote locations.

The bottled water waste is not any different than any other consumer waste. It's collected and disposed of, usually off-site. There is a 'environmental' cost to all the substitute bottles, plastic and aluminum as well. Why is it better to mine, process and distribute aluminum or Nalgene bottles than the disposable ones. You can feel better that the substitutes are re-usable, but then so are the disposables.

I agree with most posters here that bottled water is a scam and un-necessary. It is however, safe potable water, convenient, inexpensive and available to all. Why in heaven should park patrons not be able to buy a bottle on site?

This is simply a feel good, nanny issue.


The NPS with this policy limits the choices of it's patrons. It's not in their mission to do that.


There are plenty of things I can't buy in a national park--absinthe, Nabokov novels, bows & arrows--but it's hard to argue NPS is violating its mission by limiting the choices of what I can buy. (Isn't its mission "to protect and manage our nation's special wild places"?) In fact, unless the choices are unlimited, wouldn't anything the NPS offers to sell a limit on those choices?

To say this is a nanny issue is to presume that one is somehow entitled to buy whatever one wants at a national park.

While they are at it, I hope these same lobbyists can convince the NPS to ban the in-park sale of tobacco products as well.

Thank God the NPS is responding to the plastic water bottle threat. And for those scofflaws who would flout the ban, the Yellowstone Justice Center, the Yosemite magistrate judge, and all of those armed NPS rangers, everywhere from Acadia National Park to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, will be stern and unforgiving. Swift prosecution and harsh punishment—that's what's needed.

But that's not enough to keep the parks in a pristine condition. Fortunately:


a 14-year-old lawsuit could soon force sweeping changes and eliminate popular activities in one of America's most beloved national parks.

In the name of restoring the park's natural setting, a new proposal by the National Park Service would ban bicycle and horse rentals in Yosemite Valley and remove the ice rink at Curry Village. Swimming pools at the Yosemite Lodge and Ahwahnee Hotel would be torn out. Rafting rentals on the Merced River would end. The longest stone bridge in Yosemite Valley would be demolished. Even the Yosemite Art Activity Center, where families learn water colors, would go.


With luck, even more can be done to return Yosemite to its status circa 1000 B.C.:


"Yosemite Valley is absolutely magnificent. You ought to be able to look around and enjoy it," said John Brady, chairman of Mariposans for the Environment and Responsible Government, an environmental group.

"You don't need a bunch of swimming pools there. You can ice-skate in lots of places. You don't have to do it in Yosemite Valley."

Brady, a retired Army officer, said he would support the park going even further, such as tearing down Yosemite Lodge, which is not part of the proposed plan.


Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/politics-government/ci_22833996/yosemite-national-park-may-ban-horse-bike-and

/sarcasm

And yes, no tobacco! No sodas! No foie gras in NPS restaurants! Recycled paper only. No bags, paper, plastic, or otherwise. No tawdry commerce, so no gift shops (and no Indian traders selling rugs)! Definitely no sunscreen; it stinks and the Anasazi didn't have any. Toyota Priuses, Nissan Leafs, and Chevrolet Volts only! Let's start a list of other objectionable things to be banned.

..and while they're at it they need to institute that new re-usable toilet paper I've been reading about......

Imtnbike. When are you going to realize that the government bureaucrats know what is best for you and how you should live your life. Personal choice and personal responsibility are so passe.

I've heard this "limits choice" and "nanny" argument in all the materials the bottled water industry has put out on this subject.

Both are a bit confounding. Mike, by your rationale the parks are "limiting choice" because they are not providing everything a park-goer could concievably desire at their concessions.

And the park's mission IS very much at odds with selling a product that is so environmentally damaging, expensive to dispose of, and at odds with protecting our shared water resources. Here's the mission for reference: http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/mission.htm.

As for this tired "nanny" argument. Its intriguing to me that here you have a transnational corporation telling an institution that is suppose to serve the public first and foremost that this is the way this institution should operate, and yet the park-goers who don't want to see parks serve as a concession stand and billboard for this private interest are the "nannies?" Please.

To some additional points, Mike. The GAO finds that bottled water is far less regulated than the tap. Recent contamination scares further illustrate the point. Bottled water is different than reusables. The environmental footprint is greater and reusables don't litter parks by the tons, causing parks to spend significant taxpayer dollars to recycle or dispose of them.

As for accessibility of water, 14 parks, many of them in desert climates, have proven they can provide water sufficient to make sure park goers are properly hydrated. And why buy bottled water at a concession stand when you can just refill a bottle at a fountain? It weighs just as much, travels just as far...what's feel good about purchasing the bottled stuff?

Also, concessionaries that have gone bottled water free have found that sales of reusable bottles easily compensate for any losses in selling a product that is quite often just tap water sold back to us in a soft plastic bottle at more than a thousand times the cost.

Here, here!

Kayker - how many strawmen can you put into a single rant?


providing everything a park-goer could concievably desire at their concessions.


Everything conceivable? No, he is asking for product that is in high demand.


at odds with protecting our shared water resources


Could you indicate how bottled water are at odds with water resources?


he GAO finds that bottled water is far less regulated than the tap.


So what?


causing parks to spend significant taxpayer dollars to recycle or dispose of them.


Any more than any other trash?


yet the park-goers who don't want to see parks serve as a concession stand and billboard for this private interest are the "nannies?"


But its OK for them to serve as a concession stand and billboard for hundreds of other products? Or just the products that you (the nanny) think are OK.

Everyone, everywhere, should ban bottled water. The earth is covered with plastic bottles. The TAP is where it's at for the most sustainable and healthy option. Please do not sell bottled water in the parks! Thanks.


The earth is covered with plastic bottles.


Yeah...... You think the more hyperbolic you are the "truer" it will be?

Ecbuck — I have recently come to realize that I do need to be told what to do at every waking moment. In fact I'm waiting for instructions from the authorities right now. Ah, here they come . . . They have just authorized me to type this reply. I hope I am writing it in a suitably responsible and constructive manner.

I think Sherwin-Williams already covered the earth, so the demonic forces behind the plastic bottle conspiracy are too late.

Geeeeee Whiz -- and here I was under the impression that trying to wisely use our finite resources and respect the fragile little planet upon which we live was being personally responsible. How passe' can I be?

I was also guilty of thinking that it's a bit of personal responsibility to try to stand up for what I believe is best for preserving our little spaceship for my grandkids and theirs. I guess that's what makes me one of those doggoned disgusting liberals. I actually try to do what's right as I go about living every day. Maybe I just have my priorities backwards and am failing to properly revere the almighty dollar.

But maybe Mtnbke is right. Perhaps those who don't understand how to be personally responsible really do need to be instructed until they develop enough wisdom and maturity to be able to do it on their own. Then again, maybe that's just the old grade-school teacher coming out in me. I do hope, however, that the kids I taught learned that all of us are totally dependent upon this little blue and green ball we call home and will do all they can to protect it from those who would abuse it.

Just for fun, here's a link to a site I found earlier while researching bottled water:

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/image/watertruth

And for those who can't figure it out on their own, that is a bit of something called humor.

Thanks, Lee. That graphic you link to is entertaining. I and ecbuck have been politely requested by Kurt to tone down the sarcasm on this thread, so I'm not going to post with more of my own forms of humor. Actually, I scratch my head when I see people paying $1.79 for a 16-ounce bottle of water at a gas station when there's a drinking fountain nearby. But this leads to the endless debate: do people have good reason for the things they do or are they mindless sheep led around by skillful advertising agency talent? I go back and forth on that question all the time.

Like everyone, I don't really to be told what to do, especially by bureaucrats. On the other hand, I do understand that water bottles are less than ideal. When I ride, I have a hydration pack, so I really don't feel that impacted by the potential ban anyway. Plus, I tend not to go to national parks anyway. The problem always ends up being where you draw the line. Banning the plastic bottles, then banning horse rides in the park, swimming pools, bike rentals.

It sure seems that our bureaucracies have lost common sense, and are living in a world where any environmental impact, no matter how trivial, cannot be tolerated, and that costs to remediate or impacts on users are of no consequence. That seems quite odd to me. I mean, if we go down that path, we may as well close the parks so that they can be perfectly preserved in eternity... but for whom?

I don't enjoy being restricted, either. But sometimes restrictions are very necessary for my own survival. When I was a high school kid a thousand years ago learning to fly, my instructor kept giving lectures on aerodynamics and other little details. Things like air speed and angle of attack. Every time he finished one of his homilies, he'd knock a knuckle against a picture over his desk to emphasize the point. The picture showed an airplane's tail sticking up from a smoking crater, and below were the words "The Law Of Gravity Is STRICTLY Enforced."

At what point do we decide when any environmental consequence of our actions becomes trivial? With over 7 Billion of us living here now, even a trivial consequence may not be so trivial after all. They do add up, don't they?

Part of the problem is that no one really understands all the subtle complexities or our planet and how they interact. Is it possible that some dark day we (or our descendants) may all wake up to the realization that we just passed the point of no return and it's suddenly become time to kiss ourselves goodby? I have a strong hunch that the Law of Gravity is not the only natural law that is strictly enforced. Trouble is, the consequences of violating that law are usually pretty quick and dramatic. The others are not so obvious. Heck, we don't even know what some of the other laws are!

Perhaps real wisdom demands that we stop allowing ourselves to be led around by the advertising agencies and learn to apply some good critical thinking to all our decisions -- even if they may seem at the moment to be trivial or passe' or may decrease someone's profit margin. I'm not convinced that it's only the bureaucrats who have lost their common sense. It seems like many of our companions in the public sector also abandoned that quality a long time ago.


I was under the impression that trying to wisely use our finite resources and respect the fragile little planet upon which we live was being personally responsible.


Lee, I respectively ask you to show how water bottles are a meaningful threat to our "finite" resources or our planet - which is hardly fragile.

A previous article in the Traveler includes some data from 2011 about the environmental impacts of disposable plastic bottles - including the amount of oil required to make them. The number of those items that end up in landfills every year is so large it's probably impossible to comprehend.

Water in disposable plastic bottles serves a useful purpose in parts of the world where safe drinking water isn't readily available. For the most part in this country, it's a convenience and a perceived need created by triumph of successful marketing. One site says $15 billion was spent in the U.S. in 2012 on bottled water, while the amount consumed vs. used for other purposes is essentially free from the tap. If you don't like the taste of your water at home, a basic filter on your kitchen faucet runs the cost all the way up to about 5 cents a liter.

As the joke about one brand goes, "Evian spelled backwards is naive." News that Dasani bottled water sold in the U.K. was nothing more than London tap water caused a little PR problem for Coca Cola back in 2004....but most consumers have short memories.

Would banning their sale in parks reduce demand and encourage some visitors to switch to a refillable water bottle on a long-term basis? Hard to say.

A more effective solution to the problems posed by throw-away beverage containers of all kinds would be a cash deposit high enough to encourage many people to return them to claim the deposit. Most of those which were still tossed out by the ultra-lazy would be likely picked up by others to collect the deposit. Way back when, that system worked pretty well for "pop bottles." A deposit system would be most efficient only if it were uniformly in place in all states—and that's a very unlikely prospect.

And may I respectfully ask you to prove beyond doubt that you are right and I'm not? You first, ec.

Part of the answer to Lee and EC's debate is found in the link in Jim Burnett's post just above:

About 22 billion plastic bottles ended up in landfills and incinerators in 2010 (probably even more this year.) One source says making plastic bottles to meet the US demand for bottled water requires more than 15 million barrels of oil annually; another source says 7% of total US oil consumption is used for making new plastic (including water bottles.)

Unfortunately, such numbers don't have much meaning to those who feel the resources of our planet are not finite, and waste of that magnitude is simply something to be shrugged off. Almost of us in this country, myself included, are too often lazy and complacent when it comes to trying to be more responsible users of all of the resources available to us, finite or not.


US demand for bottled water requires more than 15 million barrels of oil annually;


Which is two tenths of one percent of our total consumption of oil. It is one tenth to 3 tenths of a percent of the estimated reserves in ANWR. I would hardly call that a "threat" to a finite resource.

There is very little in this thread that deserves even a moticum of attention or respect.

EC -

The attitude that "there's plenty more where that came from" so there's no reason to give any thought to using resources wisely is one reason so many people in other parts of the world view the U.S. as a nation of arrogant and greedy people. I'm afraid those views are well-deserved.


so there's no reason to give any thought to using resources wisely


And who is to determine a "wise" use? Some arbitrary buearucrat? I would say the market-the cummulative opinion of millions. And if the market is willing to pay for that use, then so be it. There are many other users of that "finite" resource, in fact they make up the other 99.8% of consumption. Why don't we ban them?

As to the world's view of the U.S., I suspect, like the view of the Occupy Wall Street folks, it doesn't come from our attitude, it comes from their jealousy.

I really don't have an issue with banning bottle water from the park. Will they also ban paper cups as well? However, I don't buy the argument that we don't know what's trivial and what's not. That's why we have scientifics who can estimate the cost/benefit of a decision. For example, banning bike rental from Yosemite does not seem to pass the cost/benefit rule.

I guess I appreciate the NPS to set an example of what is good and ecological for all. Or at least an attempt to show us what may be viewed by conservationist as best for all. If it only happens in the National Parks, at least it is a step in the right direction to set the example. If you think it is a stupid idea...so be it. At least you were exposed and made to think about your choices while visiting. I love hearing all the opinions on this page. Even those that are different than mine. I hate seeing empty bottles cast aside or any trash for that matter. If getting rid of plastic bottles helps keep our parks clean, do it. If you bring your own plastic bottles while traveling...pack it in, pack it out.

It's great to see NPS take a stand as protectors of our environment and our country. By promoting democratic control of water over corporate control of water, and by viewing water as an ecological trust not a commidity, NPS is upholding American values and defending our homeland. Great job NPS. The fact is that America is unique in having incredible water systems, and NPS is recognizing this fact and helping to keep our parks beautiful.

Also, people don't have to continue wasting their money on buying the same thing for hundreds--if not thousands-- the cost! Everybody wins.

Nicely put, Adam Brunell.

I live at work at the Grand Canyon. One third of our waste stream was disposible water bottles. The water supplied at the refill stations is the same water supplied to our homes and businesses on the South Rim: no extra cost to purify or supply. I work taking educational tours of the Canyon, and when my students show up and expect to buy bottled water, I hand them "give-away" canteens that say "reuse and recycle". They regard these as fun and useful souvenirs, and I don't find them later tossed aside on the trails.


By promoting democratic control of water over corporate control of water.

Could you please explain what that is supposed to mean? Wouldn't being "democratic" be giving the choice to use tap or bottled? In what way does bottled water represent "corporate control"?

ec...

Sorry I wasn't here earlier today to pay attention to your gadfly routine. I was walking on lava beds at Hawaii Volcanoes... and dodging the friggin' discarded plastic bottles that other clueless sorts abandoned on the landscape. Entitled types like yourself, judging by your "issue" of the day. Bah.

re: Wouldn't being "democratic" be giving the choice to use tap or bottled?

This proposal allows exactly that, but encourages visitors in the park to use the free tap water provided there to lessen the impacts of throw-away plastic bottles on the park.

If people want to use bottled water, they are free to so, they just need to buy it outside the park.


use the free tap water provided there to lessen the impacts of throw-away plastic bottles on the park.


If that were truly the case, I might have more sympathy but we all know those demanding this action are doing so for emotional/politcal reasons. See:

"protectors of our environment"

"bottled water requires more than 15 million barrels of oil annually"

"subtle complexities or our planet"

"so environmentally damaging"

"stop allowing ourselves to be led around by the advertising agencies"

"corporate control of water"

"wie use"

This is nothing but an anti-corporation, anti-oil company, expand government's role, save the world (but from unidentified danger) attack.

But Jim, I do like your previous idea. Charge a deposit. Just make sure that any unclaimed "deposit" money is used to clean up and dispose of the bottles and not for some other purpose.

Rick,Perhaps rather than "dodging" the water bottles you should have been doing the responsible thing and packing them out. That's what I do, though I must say its seldom I come across a plastic water bottle. Much more likely to be a candy wrapper or cigarette butt.

As to "entitled" that is such a funny charge coming from on OWSer. The only thing I believe I am entitled to are the inalienable rights identified in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

ecbuck, your posts are always interesting, but I find myself in disagreement at times. I am in complete support of banning the sale of plastic disposable water bottles inside the parks and/or requiring a deposit on them where ever they are sold. The deposit really makes a difference on how these items are disposed. It really does not take much to carry your own "canteen"/ etc, my wife and I have made it a habit of doing it. Here in California, many communities are either banning the sale of plastic bags at grocery stores or charging for them if you did not bring your own. We citizens get use to it real fast and it truly helps.

rmackie,

I too typically carry a refillable bottle or platypus. Many people are not so equipped and may find it more convenient and sanitary to use plastic bottles. I don't think they should be denied that opportunity. Again, I have no problem with a deposit - assuming the unclaimed deposit money is actually used to clean-up/dispose of the bottles.

As to grocery store bags, another "tilting a windmills" on the part of the anti-oil, environmental extremist movements. Such bans will have no real incremental impact on "the environment" and will only lead to a backward step in sanitation.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/06/reusable-shopping-bags-and-food-safety/#.UU8lHVfGsmk

Besides, they are useful for my dog's poops.

EC-

You're welcome to your view that issues such as this are merely " nothing but an anti-corporation, anti-oil company, expand government's role, save the world (but from unidentified danger) attack."

I'd suggest that a previous poster had a more balanced view of the issue by noting at the Grand Canyon, "one third of our waste stream was disposible water bottles." It's simply not good use of scarce dollars to collect and dispose of that much trash when it can be reduced to at least some extent by encouraging people to make a switch to reusable water bottles.

As you commented on a different thread last week, it's about setting priorities for limited dollars.

If you truly believe throw-away plastic bottles aren't a problem, I'd respectfully suggest you spend at least a week in a major park during their busy season, volunteering to pick up litter at least eight hours a day; then when you're finished, haul it all out of the park and pay the landfill fees to dispose of it. While you're at it, don't limit your activities to the edge of the parking lot, but go after that trash left alongside trails and on riverbanks and lakeshore beaches that require a full day's hike or canoe or boat trip to complete. Those are real costs that could be reduced if we try.

There's no single, quick and easy fix for budget shorfalls in parks, or in the government as a whole, that's acceptable to both ends of the political spectrum. I'd submit, however, that the combination of a lot of small steps, including reducing costs for litter pickup and disposal, can in the aggregate make at least some difference. Like any other problem, we have a choice: try to contribute to a solution, or sit on the sidelines and snipe and gripe.

Jim, THANK YOU for one of the most sensible and well considered comments here in quite some time.

In covering this issue, hasn't the Traveler cited parks (Saguaro? Hawaii Volcanoes?) that have shown direct fiscal and ecological benefits to taking this step?

Jim,

I have spent extended periods of time in parks, national forest and BLM land and have volunteered repeatedly for clean-up days. My experience has been that plastic bottles are a minor portion of the accumulated trash.


"one third of our waste stream was disposible water bottles."


And what percentage of those were purchased in the park? "Solutions" for solutions sake aren't work the effort. Banning sales would not have a material impact on trash but could inconvenience or harm people while a deposit would cover the cost and it would be paid by those that caused the "problem".

I'll stick with my theory (supported by substantial evidence) that this is anti-corporate, anti-oil, environmental extremism.


Banning sales would not have a material impact on trash


During 2009-2010, the ban reduced Zion National Park’s waste stream by roughly 5,000 pounds and cut energy used at the visitor center by 10 percent.

http://www.sierraclubgreenhome.com/green-news/common-sense-ban-becomes-controversy/